[Springboard] "Gathering Process Suggestions"

W. J. synergi at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 1 16:01:55 EDT 2007

I liked this so much I'm bouncing back to the list again.
  So what's happening on this front? Are we up and running?

On Wed, 5 Sep 2007 10:30:45 -0400 <silencefoundation at cox.net> writes: 
    Dear Friends, 
  We both left the Abbey North gathering earger to go with Soringboard. Now we're wondering where's the follow up?  Maybe it was simply a golden moment which is all we need at this point.  In any case this offers some reflection on the processes we might follow in the future.
  We feel like we're preaching to the choir here but following the Denver and Abbey North gatherings we did want to send you all something about possible meeting methods for whoever plans the next gatherings to brood on.  We hope this will spark your thinking about how we can put them into our future Springboard events.
  We envision that our gatherings with one another can become a lab where we set the standard on creative meeting methods.   This is vital to the guild and every other thing we do.   It's important that we incorporate the best of the newest (and some older) methods and keep looking for and trying out methods as they emerge.  Here are 8 on my mind:
  1) A Facilitation Team.  Name them and claim them.   These people have to be on hand and we have to plan meetings when they are available and help them get there.   I think it's Jack Gilles, Jim Wiegel, George Walters, and probably Jan Sanders.
2) River Guides.  At least 3 of these and they need to be assigned prior to the meeting and given a context on their role.  River Guides hold energy, pray, listen, intervene only when the group is blocked, and speak the mind or location of the group (i.e., I think we are going in circles, I think we are ignoring., etc.)  Remember Year 2000?  Lovely people for this are David Scott, Richard Sims, Judy Wiegel, Thea, and John P.
3) Group Building Tools to Open, Close and Refresh.  This includes group poems, silence exercises, ritual, songs, body movement, doodle/quick art, play, dance, chants.  We have a pretty good list of quick ones and I know others in the group have many such tools.
  4) Pre-Work.  People these days are using technology to handle pre-meeting reports.   Create a template for a 1-page report and ask everyone to send it to the listserve group two days prior to the meeting.   Everyone reads everyone else's.  Then when you gather people can give much shorter symbolic reports and you can harvest the gold in an opening reflection (jump starting the where-we-are work).
  5) Streamlined ways to get thinking.  We tried several of these this time.  The Affinity Method, Groups of Three, Individual Writing Time before sharing, etc.   The goal here is less words in the air and less words on the walls.   This gets us to the heart of it easier.
  6) Quaker Discussion Methods.  We love their discipline of putting pauses between each person who speaks, the rule that you do not speak if you agree and also that silent persons are given a special time to speak.   A bell or timekeeper for speakers can help, too, but this can be tricky if the timekeeper isn't really sensitive.  I like River Guides better.
7) Reflective Process.  Noble Silence, writing poetry as a reflection, covenanting rituals (Like the What are you committed to? which was great at Abbey North), late evening solitary reflection but done together (alone in the presence of one another).
8) Streamlined Task.  Reporting Templates, so we can get back to each other within 7-10 days of the meeting with our work assignment.
  Well, we hope this is helpful.   We have no illusion that our gatherings will be tidy or neat because we're on a historical edge just like everybody else. But ain't it grand?
  Pat & David 

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